Ten Crazy, Scary, Amazing and Very Unusual Staircases

For many, stairs are something to avoid, unless you’re determined to lose some weight. But lovers of nature and spectacular views are more than used to climbing steps and yet more steps to gain the view through this list of steps may be a challenge for those who get a little dizzy…



Staircase in Pailon del Diablo, Banos, Ecuador
Staircase in Pailon del Diablo, Banos, Ecuador

10 – Where you are: Peldaños del Cañón  (Rungs of the Canyon)

Where are they going? Designed to descend to the bottom of one of the most famous waterfalls in South America,  lost in the fog along the way in many cases. It is extremely slippery and steep for several tens of metres to a lookout where you can see the dramatic effect, accompanied by hummingbirds, gulls and other local birds

Staircase in Rajasthan, India

9 – The Step-well of Chand Baori near Jaipur, Rajasthan

Where are they going? These steps lead down to a huge pool, built in the tenth century to overcome the lack of rainfall in the region and store water for long periods. The structure has a total of 3,500 steps, down to a depth of 30 metres — then up again with the water.

Staircase in Elbe Sandstone Mountains Dresden

8 – Stairs Elbe Sandstone Mountains Dresden, Germany

Where are they going? Stairs carved into the stone of the mountain itself. They date from the 13th century and have been eroded by wind and water, but are still being used daily by tourists.  487steps, though not enough, were restored and expanded in the eighteenth century to facilitate transit.

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Staircase in Guatapé Antioquia

7 – The Rock of Guatapé Antioquia, Colombia

Where are they going? The rock is a stone monolith 220 metres high. The steps are constructed with cement, directly on the rock, making use of a natural cleavage. 702 steps must be climbed to reach the peak.

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Staircase in Haiku

6 – The ladder Haiku: Oahu, Hawaii

Where are they going? On the small island of Oahu, there is this tremendous journey of 3922 steps, climbing, across and down a hill of 850 metres. They were created to facilitate the installation of a satellite in 1942.  Originally of wood, they were modernised in the ’50s, but since 1987 have been closed to the public.

Staircase on the Inca Trail

5 – The Inca Trail: Peru

Where are they going?  An ancient trade route linking the city of Cuzco to Machu Pichu.   The rugged topography of the area forced the Inca Trail to make detours around hills and between mountains. The result: miles and miles of stairs, in some cases very precarious, as the famous floating staircases.

Staircase in Aketx, Basque County

4 – Ladder Via Crucis: Bermeo, Basque Country, Spain

Where are they going? This endless row of stairs is attached to the rocky coast where there is a small church dating from the tenth century and seemingly of Templar origin. To reach the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, one has to climb 231 steps and there are gaps in the steps that are identified as the footsteps of St. John himself, which are given different healing powers. For example, you have to put your feet in them as a cure for corns, or leave hats, scarves or chapelas, to cure a headache.

Staircase in Taihang Mountains, China

3 – Taihang Mountains:  provinces of Shanxi and Henan, China.

Where are they going? This spiral staircase of almost 100 metres was installed recently in an attempt to attract tourists to the beautiful Taihang Mountains. Before undertaking the ascent, visitors are asked to sign forms to ensure they do not have heart or lung problems and are under age 60.  And a slip on the narrow metal ladder can certainly lead to heaven, as in the Led Zeppelin song.

Staircase in Wayna Pichu at Machu Pichu, Peru

2 – Wayna Pichu: Machu Picchu, Peru

Where are they going? Stairs carved into the rock that crowns a climb of about 360 metres from Machu Picchu itself.   In some parts, the ascent is complicated to pass through narrow sections, with small, steep steps that have eroded in places. Climbing time is calculated to be between one hour and 90 minutes: 90 minutes climbing stairs! Only 400 tourists a day are allowed, and access is closed from 1 pm, just in case.

Staircase in Law Courts Building in downtown Vancouver

1 – Robson Square · Vancouver, British Columbia

With disabled people in mind, this architect designed the most awesome stairs with full wheelchair access! It is the perfect set up and most likely the future of staircases.

Author: Gus Barge

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